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The Dragon taken and confined.
CHAP. XX. VER. 1-3.
2 Και είδον αγελος 1 And I saw an angel
χαλαβαίνογία έκ τα coming down from Βρανά, έχονlα την heaven, having the key κλείν της αβύσσε, , of the bottomless pit, και άλυσιν μεγάλης and a great chain in
επί την χείρα αυ- 2 his hand. And he laid 2 τε. Και εκράτησε hold on the dragon,
τον δράκουλα, τον (that ancient serpent, όφιν τον αρχαίον, , who is the devil and ός εςι διάβολος και
satan,) and bound him ozlovãs, xai P'Snoev 3 a thousand years; And
αυτόν χίλια έτη. . cast him into the bot3 Και έβαλεν αυτόν
tomless pit, and shut eis tonis ä vorov, rej
up; and set a seal over έκλεισεν, και έσφρά- him, that he should γισεν
επάνω αυτό, , deceive the nations no να μη σλανήση τα
more, until the thouέθνη έτι, άχρι τελεσ- sand years should be θη τα χίλια έτη και completed : and after μεία ταύτα δει αυ
these, he must be loos. τον λυθήναι μικρών ed a little time. χρόνον. .
1 And I saw an angel
come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit,
and a great chain in 2 his hand: And he laid
hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan,
and bound him a thou3 sand years, And cast
him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that, he must be loosed a little
The removal of the beast and false prophet is followed by the decline of impiety and wickedness, and by the rapid growth of true Religion and Virtue. This is symbolically displayed. The dragon, that ancient foe of man, who, under the disguise of a serpent, had be
guiled guiled Eve; who had lent his throne, his authority and his arts, to the beast and the false prophet; to mislead the nations and their kings * ; is taken and contined. His influence upon earth is wonderfully diminished. And this important object is accomplished by the same superior agency. For, though an angel is represented as binding satan, yet, whence has he the commission and the power? whence the key of the bottomless deep, but from him who alone is described, as having “ the “ keys of hell and of death †;" from him, who shutteth, and no man openeth I? By his permission the bottomless deep had been opened §; by his power it is now closed and sealed. The author of all iniquity is confined in it, for a time; after which he is permitted to come forth again“ for a season,” and “ to deceive the nations.” But the beasts rise up no more. They are no longer the successful agents of satan. He is no longer permitted to employ this kind of civil and religious tyranny against true Religion, and the happiness of man. The blissful season, during which satan continues bounden, is called a thousand years. But of this more particularly, under the next section.
CHAP. XX, VER. 446.
4 Kaisidor Içóves, zey 4 And I saw thrones,
κάθισαν επ' αυτές, , and they sate upon και κρίμα εδόθη αυ
them: and judgment τους και τας ψυχάς was given unto them : των τσεπελεκισμέ- and the souls of those νων δια την μαρο- who had been slain είαν Ιησύ, και δια with the axe for the τον λόγον τ8 Θε8, , testimony of Jesus, και οίτινες και προσε
and for the word of κύνησαν τα θηρίω, , God; and whosoever έτε τη εικόνα αυτά had not worsbipped και έκ έλαβον το the beast
his χάραγμα επί το
image, and had not μέτωπον, και επί received
4 And I saw thrones, and
they sate upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with
Christ thousand 5 years: But the rest of the dead lived
mark την χείρα αυτών upon their forehead και έζησαν, και εβασί- and upon their hand: λευσαν μελα το Χρι- and they lived and
σε τα χίλια έτη. reigned with Christ και οι δε λοιποί των
the thousand years : νεκρών έκ έζησαν,
5 But the rest of the έως τελισθη τα χί
dead did not live till λια έτη. Αύτη η
the thousand years ανάςασις ή σπρώτη. .
should be completed. 6 Μακάριο και άγιο.
This is the first resuro free mięQ ir T 6 rection. Blessed and αναςάσει τη σρώ- holy is he who hath a τη επί τύτων : part in the first resurδεύτερο θάνατο rection: over these, the έκ έχει εξεσίαν, second death hath no ära' poorloo isgsīs
power : but they shall
not again until the thousand years were finish
ed. This is the first 6 resurrection. Blessed
and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and satisfaction
το Θεό και τα Χρισέ, , και βασιλεύσεσε μεί αυτέ χίλια έτη. .
be priests of God and
shall reign with him a thousand years.
Ver. 4. And I saw thrones ; &c.] In Daniel, vii. 22, 26, “ the judgment sits;”—“ judgment is given to “ the saints ;—they possess the kingdom.” To this passage, St. Paul seems to allude in 1 Cor. ri. 9, 3, as well as cloes our Lord's promise in Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 30. giving thrones of judgment to his Disciples. These prophecies, dark in themselves, until the event and completion shall illustrate them, are here repeated, with some additional information : for, it is affirmed, that this reign of the Saints shall continue" a thousand
years.” Who the saints are, is at first expressed in very general terms; as also is the prophecy of Daniel. “They sate; judgment was given unto them.” But among those who sit upon these thrones, are afterwards expressly enumerated, they who during the long condict with the beast and false prophet, have kept the faith, even unto death, and refused the idolatrous worship, to which they were tempted or forced, by the worldly powers. These faithful sons and champions of the Church, are described as living and reigning with the Anointed, or Christ, the thousand years. And this early or first resurrection appears to be their exclusive privilege, and not to belong to the rest of the dead, who, it is said, shall not live, until the thousand years
shall be completed.
Much has been written upon this promised Millernium, or reign of the Saints; yet little that can afford
satisfaction to the judicious* The meaning of a prophecy of this kind can only be made manifest by the event which is to fulfil it. Before that time shall arrive, it is unsafe to conjecture after what method it shall be fulfilled; whether, as sone prophecies literally, or as others, typically; whether the departed Saints and Martyrs shall actually be raised again in their own persons, to effect so glorious a change in Religion and morals; or, whether, like Elijah in the person of John Baptist, and David in that of Christ, they shall live again in the persons of other saints, who shall fulfill their characters and otfices, no man may presume to determine. It is best therefore, after the example of the wise father Irenæus, respecting another prophecy, to “ wait the completion of the prediction t.” Yet, if we are not permitted to descend to a special interpretation, we may receive advantage from a general view. We may confidently indulge a well-grounded expectation, that happy times, of long duration, are yet destined
Augustine, in Civ. Dei, lib. xx. c. 7, commenting on this chapter, says, that the doctrine of a Millennium, which the saints were to enjoy a corporeal resurrection in this world, was founded on a notion that, after six thousand years of trouble, the saints should enjoy one thousand years of sabbath, or rest. But the doctrine was founded on this passage of the Revelation. The notion of the time only, in which the prophecy will be fulfilled, was taken from this tradition of the Church. From Papias, a good man, but weak and credulous, seem to bave been derived those earthly notions of a Millennium, branded with the name of Chiliasm, wbich were adopted by some eminent writers of the ancient Church; by Irenæus, Apollinaris, Tertullian, Victorinus, Lactantius, &c. But there was another, and much more debasing, notion of a Millennium, entertained in those early times, in which, gross, sensual, corrupting delights were supposed to make the felicity of the Saints. This seems to have been derived from Cerinthus, and thence to have passed on to other heretics. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. c. 28. + Iren. lib. v. 30.